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14 April 2024

South Africa to delay new projects to save power

By Agencies

South African power utility Eskom will delay connections to all new construction projects for up to six months to enable the country's mining industry to operate at full power, Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday.


A crippling power crisis forced a shutdown of the crucial mining sector for five days in January and since then mines have been operating with only 90 per cent of their usual power, raising fears of massive job losses in the industry.


Gold Fields, the world's fourth-largest gold miner, has warned it could cut 6,900 jobs.


Beeld said as part of new measures aimed at alleviating the power crunch, households in the country's Gauteng province industrial heartland around Johannesburg, will also face power rationing every second day.


The newspaper said the new plan was confirmed by Eskom spokesman Tony Stott. Eskom was not immediately available for comment.


South Africa's Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday it expected the government to announce ways to mitigate job losses in the mining industry on Wednesday.


The country's electricity crisis, the result of nearly a decade of under-spending on capacity generation, has raised fears that economic growth could stumble ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup which South Africa is hosting.


Under the new measures, any building project bigger than a residential home, will be delayed for four to six months as Eskom will not issue electricity certificates for such projects from mid-February, Beeld said.


State-owned Eskom plans to spend 343 billion rand ($43.74 billion; Dh160.53 billion) increasing its generating capacity over the next five years and has invited bids for a new nuclear power station. (Reuters)